Volkswagen to unveil self-driving vehicle as part of post-dieselgate shift

Volkswagen says that Sedric is the first vehicle that's designed for a full-fledged autonomous driving.

The Volkswagen Sedric, a futuristically styled self-driving vehicle concept, has been revealed ahead of its Geneva motor show debut.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled its fully autonomous F 015 luxury concept two years ago. Other parts like the steering wheel and pedals, made unnecessary by level 5 autonomy, have been removed entirely.

Volkswagen has a badly dented image following the revelation that almost 600,000 diesel vehicles deliberately circumvented USA emissions tests, and court cases continue against it. Since it's the first concept to be officially from the VW Group as a whole rather than a project for one of the company's specific brands, it doesn't have a VW badge - although the light graphic design language is very much in line with Volkswagen's recent concept cars.

Called the Sedric - an acronym for the words "self-driving car", the new pod like four-seater has been developed as part of the German auto maker's Together-Strategy 2025 programme as a foundation for a planned transformation of the Volkswagen Group from a traditional engineering led company to one specialising in integrated mobility services through its newly created Mobility Solutions division. Just press the button - and Sedric comes along, precisely at the time indicated in advance. However, Volkswagen did confirm that the Sedric is the "father" of concepts within the company. In fact, Sedric's most notable feature may be the fancy button with which users can summon it.

Sedric offers the highest possible degree of mobility as it can be controlled not only using "The Button" but also using voice commands and a smartphone app. The vehicles wheels are almost completely faired-in for aerodynamic efficiency. Soon Sedric will also get "children" and "grandchildren" with the Group's various brands.

Sedric is, however, more than just a study, it is the first concept vehicle from the Volkswagen Group. The car's windscreen that is essentially a big OLED screen that can be used as an entertainment centre. The one shown on stage at the event might be the only prototype developed by Volkswagen for Sedric. The Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries: Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN.

To help freshen the air, there are air purifying plants - actual plants - positioned just inside the rear window.

And it doesn't look like anything you'll find on the road today. For example, a passenger could tell the vehicle what route to take to reach a destination or at what time they'd like to reach it.

  • Tracy Ferguson